President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, didn't exactly receive the turnout that the campaign may have hoped. TikTok users and online trolls may be the reason behind the event's low turnout rate. According to CNN, prior to Trump's Tulsa rally, those on TikTok registered to attend the rally with no intention of actually going. Instead, they reportedly did this to ensure that the stadium in which the event was being held would be empty.
CNN reported that Mary Jo Laupp was one of the individuals who was leading the charge behind this mission. She previously posted a video on TikTok in which she encouraged people to go to Trump's website to register to attend the event (without the intention of ever going). She said, "All of those of us that want to see this 19,000 seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty go reserve tickets now and leave him standing alone there on the stage." Laupp's idea prompted others to tell their followers on TikTok to do the same. Additionally, CNN reported that one video, which racked up more than a quarter-million views, called for K-Pop stans to join this campaign.
Trump's rally saw far fewer people in attendance than the reported one million who registered to attend. The venue, BOK Center, holds less than 20,000 people. While it's unclear whether this campaign actually affected the turnout rate for the event, Trump's team has said that what users were actually doing when falsely registering for the rally was handing over their contact information to the president's campaign. Erin Perrine, principal deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, told CNN, "Leftists do this all the time. They think if they sign up for tickets that will leave empty seats. Not the case at all. Always way more ticket requests than seats available at a rally. All they are doing is giving us access to their contact information."
The Trump campaign was expecting a crowd so large that they had to set up a stage outside of the venue for the "overflow." This speech to the "overflow" crowd was later canceled, with the Trump campaign claiming that the reason behind that cancellation was due to protesters. Tim Murtagh, a campaign spokesperson, told NPR, "Sadly, protestors interfered with supporters, even blocking access to the metal detectors, which prevented people from entering the rally. Radical protestors, coupled with a relentless onslaught from the media, attempted to frighten off the president's supporters. We are proud of the thousands who stuck it out."